Why I Always Order Chiles Rellenos in a Mexican Restaurant
Because they’re a pain in the butt to make at home. But, and here’s the zinger; the chile relleno in the photo was without question, the best-tasting I have ever eaten.
Was it worth it?
A qualified “yes”. If you can check the boxes, you should try this recipe:
- You have plenty of time. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither were chiles rellenos. (In answer to this question, Angelica, my darling keep-my-apartment-from-being-declared-uninhabitable assistant, told me she had once made 100 handmade chiles rellenos to raise money for her mother’s heart surgery!)
- You are smart enough to prepare the dish in stages — skin the poblano peppers the day before frying. Dry well on paper towels, cover and refrigerate until ready to stuff and fry.
- You have access to fresh poblanos. This is not the time for substitutes. Poblanos are generally less “hot” than other peppers. Note I say “generally” . . . they come in different levels of heat.
- Choose one good quality melting Mexican cheese. Add Mozzerella cheese for added flavor (Angelica-tip).
- You are prepared to eat them immediately after frying. This is not a microwave dish; not if you want to recreate the restaurant relleno. Angelica-tip: In restaurants, chiles are dipped into hot oil to loosen skin for peeling and stuffing. This technique is not recommended for home kitchens. I wouldn’t do it and I’m not afraid to deep fry, but I do it outdoors. Odor and safety factor.
Now, to the nitty-gritty . . . how did I acquire this recipe? Years and years ago, I lived in Honolulu with my daughter, Nicole during my husband’s 12 month tour of duty in Vietnam. This was an unaccompanied hazardous duty assignment, so we waited out the year in Hawaii.
A significant amount of our time was spent on the Waikiki beach at Fort deRussy, an Army retreat center created primarily for military members and their families. My friend, Gaye Chronister, also a waiting wife, and I could be found there just about every day with our daughters. Gaye and I were a natural fit; in addition to our children and the shared loneliness of being in this idyllic spot without our husbands and fathers, we spoke the same language about…